Amanda Parris - T-Dot Renaissance Founder
Amanda Parris is a student of passion whose work is inspired by the layered complexity of artists such as Audre Lorde and the critical interrogation employed by activists such as Angela Davis.
As a student completing her honours undergraduate degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies, she recognized that art and education could be utilized as powerful tools to create spaces for stories often marginalized by mainstream institutions of power. With this purpose in mind, she has contributed her energy to several innovative organizations such as the student organization R.O.O.T.S. (of which she was the founder), the critical news show Voices on CHRY 105.5FM (of which she was the co-host), the youth serving organization The Remix Project (where she was the Outreach Coordinator and later Managing Director) and through the creation of Lost Lyrics.
In addition, Amanda has had the privilege of travelling to London, Caracas, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Atlanta, Durban, Oakland and Nairobi, connecting with artists and activists who share similar perspectives and have inspired her to recognize her work as part of a global movement. These experiences helped Amanda to recognize her own potential as a creative storyteller. Since 2009, she has been performing at festivals and events throughout the city, studied with b current performing arts company, was accepted as a playwright-in-residence at anitafrika dub theatre, recently starred in the V-Day Toronto Production of The Whores and was selected to be the Artistic Director for Wombmanifesto 2011 – the first ever celebration of women and trans people in Hip Hop culture at the Toronto Manifesto Festival. In 2010 she workshopped her first one-woman play 32C at the word! sound! powah! Festival to rave reviews. A significant part of this journey has been the privilege of being a student of storytelling and learning from internationally acclaimed artists such as d’bi young, ahdri zhina mandiela, Raven Dauda, Jamie Hector, Patrice Naimbana, Ravi Jain and Surahata Susso.
Colanthony Humphrey is a multi-disciplinary artist (musician, performer, music producer, visual artist, and aspiring writer) from Toronto, Ontario. Colanthony has been apart of a host of Toronto based arts programming including The Remix Project, anitAFRIKA! dub theatre Artist Residency, and more. Completing his 4th year at Humber College for Creative Advertising B.A.A., Colanthony still stays active in the art and music community in Toronto, being part of one half of the trash-punk duo, “The oOohh Baby Gimme Mores” who have opened for Saul Williams, Saidah Baba Talibah and performed for NXNE, 102.1 The Edge, And The AfroPunk Festival in Brooklyn NY. Colanthony also stays busy producing music for a number of Toronto Based musicians from multiple genres.
Natasha Daniel’s influence is as wide as her journey. Whether through the rhymes of Hip Hop philosophers such as Nas or the images taken by Jamel Shabazz and other visual artists relaying their reality, Natasha shares a similar passion, the art of storytelling. Being a self-taught photographer, she is aware of the struggle and need to express one’s story. Natasha’s purpose to celebrate stories often silenced has led her to help document very complex communities in Canada, Colombia and India through her visual arts foundation, Kahaniya – Sisters Sharing Stories. Since these experiences, Natasha continues to exhibit her visual stories through publications such as Elle Magazine, as well as through exhibitions like the Contact Photography Festival to name a few. The essence of Natasha’s artistry is the blending of mediums. This includes co-starring, co-producing and co-playwrighting a HipHop theatre production, entitled 3 Dollars n’ 6 Dimes. Natasha has also recently become a student of contemporary dance and intends use this as yet another layer to the stories she will never stop telling . . .
Neil "Logik" Donaldson
Born in Toronto Canada, Logik the Artist, Film maker, poet and concerned citizen has been involved in community work /Toronto Hip-Hop scene for over 10 years. He is the founder of the Stolen From Africa (SFA) movement which was created to empower communities through education by exploring various means of artistic expression ie. Music, Fashion, Alternative Media and Community outreach. His documentary “Stolen From Africville”, sponsored by Canadian Heritage and the NFB, outlines the rise and destruction of a historic black community in Nova Scotia, that many Canadians have no knowledge of. The release of this documentary led him into a high school tour across Toronto and parts of Canada. Logik has also been featured in The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Much Music, Urbanology Magazine and MTV Canada. Logik and the SFA staff have recently completed a summer film program from youth that was sponsored by ARTreach and the United Way and is currently working on the Stolen From Africa RealTV pilot.
Nadijah Robinson is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, currently working in the media of Textile, Printmaking, Sound, and Installation. She received her BFA from the University of Ottawa. Her fabric-based work mixes the conventions of painting, street art and textile art in order to raise themes of memory, identity, and storytelling. This work aims to reflect and archive the stories of communities in which she is strongly rooted, and which are not often represented in conventional art spaces. Drawing directly from experience with screen-printing, modern-batik making, sewing, figurative painting, and filmmaking, her work speaks to diverse artistic traditions. Robinson’s recent exhibitions include a screening of her first-prize-winning video ‘QWOC: Queer Women of Colour Oral History Project’ at the Jacqueline Fry Contest at Gallery 115 (2009); as well as a showcase of her fabric-based works at Canteen Gallery in Ottawa (2010). Her community work and artwork often go hand in hand, in providing art services, art direction, mentorship and workshops, and in co-founding a silk-screening business specializing in anti-racist art products, She Who Struggles, Ink.
Quentin “Vercetty” Lindsay
Quentin “Vercetty” Lindsay is an artist who cares for and knows no boundaries when it comes to his artistic expression. His work includes painting, illustrations, mural works, photography, graphic design and spoken word poetry. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He is also one of the founding members of the institution’s first Black Student Association called the Onyx Society at OCAD U (OSO).
Quentin deciphers his experiences and lessons learnt from the street-life that he used to live into multiple art forms. Quentin “Vercetty” is an alumni Remix Project participant and has worked with numerous other community organizations and partners. Through those connections he have been able to have his work in the private collection or viewed by well-known and respectable people, including international recording artist K'naan, Melanie Fiona, Lauryn Hill, Jean Augustine and former Governor General, her Excellency the right and Honorable Michaëlle Jean.
nayani thiyagarajah is a storyteller. As a womyn of colour and daughter of the South Asian diaspora, she gives thanks to the elders who came before us, building the foundations on which we continue to work for and with each other.
Practicing, writing, and performing for the past six years, nayani has worked with bcurrent Performing Arts, Theatre Revolve, Corporacion Colombiana de Teatro (Colombia), WhyNot Theatre, The Remix Project, and Limitless Productions. She's also performed across Toronto, at festivals including rock.paper.sistahz (bcurrent), CrossCurrents (Factory Theatre), Lab Cab (Factory Theatre), The Festival of Ideas & Creation (Canadian Stage), the Toronto Fringe, and SummerWorks.
Currently, nayani is at work on her first feature-length documentary Shadeism, which seeks to break down the issue of shadeism and examine its impacts on womyn of colour. She is also working as the producer on an upcoming film project documenting The Sankofa Trilogy, a series of three plays, written, directed, and performed by d'bi young. At heart, nayani is a writer, in love with the many sides of storytelling. With her Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University, nayani hopes to continue producing both journalistic and creative writing works.Her own creative work aside, nayani is also actively involved in the Toronto arts and culture community, working alongside organizations such as Manifesto Community Projects and ArtReach Toronto. She is presently working as the co-program director of Wombmanifesto: The Rebirth, the inaugural celebration of women and trans artists at the 5th Annual MANIFESTO Festival.
Kim Crosby hails from Trinidad & Tobago, but is made of the fabric and texture of the many places she has worked and created in, from San Francisco to Krakow to Caracas. A published creative writer, spoken word artist invited to the stage as part of the acclaimed Les Blues Collective with the Black Theatre Company and as a solo performer at Toronto’s Rhubarb Festival to name a few. An accomplished playwright who is currently developing her second solo work and directing her 3rd, she is also an emerging media and graphic design artist. Kim has graced stages, festivals, panel discussions and conferences all across North America. Kim is currently the co-director of The People Project, an organization producing innovative arts and leadership opportunities for queer and marginalized youth in Toronto as well as engaging in a partnership based approach to institutional change.
Obie seeks to promote possibility and positivity through his music. The street savvy R&B singer writes about injustice, respect, love, beating the odds and building your own future. Obie has a perspective that gives his hip-hop-tinged soul an edge and realness, with light at the end of the tunnel; hitting on topics, with which many can identify or understand. His penetrating song “Street Life” became an immediate hit on Toronto's urban radio station Flow 93.5 FM. The track made the #1 spot on OTA Live within weeks, and held its place for four consecutive weeks!
Obie is a graduate of The Remix Project, a government-funded institution that allows young people to express creativity through various art forms while giving them the necessary resources to reach their goals. There, he cut several tracks, which were featured on his debut EP "Still I Rise".
“As a person and as a musician, I know my purpose is to help the less fortunate in any way I can and use music as a tool to really get to them, as a medium to communicate with them.” Through his work as the Artistic Development Co-Coordinator at Lost Lyrics, he has been able to make this philosophy a tangible reality.
Being in Canada for ten years now, Muginga Antonio has dedicated most of her time to being an advocate for Crown Wards. She worked for years at Ryerson University for the Voyager Project, a multi-phased educational outreach strategy aimed at supporting children in the care of the state to participate in post-secondary education. This peer support strategy works with a number of partners and is supported in part by the Children’s Aid Foundation. She enjoys using photography, theatre, and film to share stories and paint pictures and is exploring much of this as Co-Producer of the documentary feature Shadeism. Muginga also volunteers with Lost Lyrics, supporting the organization through outreach with social media. She was born in Luanda, Angola and partially raised in Pretoria, South Africa, where she learned English while at boarding school.
Myk Miranda is a multidisciplined artist, focusing on visual art, music & spoken word. He currently released his music for the first time, available at http://artistsforchange.ca/artist/san-myguel/san-myguel-mixtape. you can also find him at www.1Myk.com
Born in Curacao to Jamaican parents, Ciel Lauren is studying Illustration at the Ontario College of Art and Design. She believes that if we recognize our strengths and unite this with a desire to invest in others, we can be catalysts for change. Her niche is storytelling with acrylic paint and mixed media. Ciel has been featured in the Toronto Star along with Sway magazine. Although she is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, she feels that her greatest achievement is recognizing her ability to have an impact on others and affect positive change with her work. Her most recent awards include the Retoract Silver Youth Civic Leadership Award, along with the CUI Urban leadership Award in the Youth category. Ciel aspires to work in crisis centers and refugee camps, and hopes to eventually fund youth drop-in centers around the world.
born and raised in toronto to two artistic souls, keisha monique, writer, musician, spoken-word artist, and sculptor has been creating since the age of nine.
she is a member of the jalimusolu collective of black female storytellers in toronto, a creative writing facilitator, and project coordinator for the developing abeni initiative: creating holistic approaches for the growth and development of young women of african descent, through the arts.
her first sculpture piece, I am sacred ground, was featured at gardiner museum (toronto, on) in the ‘breaking mould: this place called home’ exhibit in march 2010. as a multi-instrumentalist, keisha monique trained with drum master muhtadi of muhtadi international drumming in 2006 and also plays the keyboard. she has since lent her talents to the stephen lewis foundation aids benefit concert where she opened for artists such as saukrates, k-os, jully black, nelly furtado and alicia keys. furthermore, she has provided drumming for d’bi.young’s play “word! sound! powah!”
in addition to having her poetry featured on radio, television and film, she is also a two-time member of toronto’s up from the roots slam team and two-time feature at north america’s largest spoken word event, ‘when sisters speak’. whether performing for the free the angola 3 fundraising concert or the future leaders conference in kingston, jamaica; at university of toronto’s diaspora voices: new directions conference or project humanity’s annual clothing drive, her words reflect the harsh reality of everyday struggles fused with the courage to face them.
keisha monique’s focus is on using her art to honour the ancestors, the divine and bring awareness on how personal, local and global issues all intertwine to create our current realities.
The Haitian-born, ginger tea sippin, dishwashin’ sports enthusiast, four-eyed homeboy from ’round the way who just so happens to be Spoken Word Artist/Poet/Facilitator named David Delisca
Featured performances all over Canada from in cities such as Montreal, Halifax and a constant pop-up on my stages in Toronto such as Up From The Roots’ “One Mic” selected by Dwayne Morgan, Kids of Tomorrow’s “Jazz, Art and Soul” and other series such as “Sounds Of Fashions”, “Mic and Soul” tallying over 125 performances in his first 16 months of sharing his art.
In his art, you will hear passionate narratives woven with rhythmically expressing stories of wide range of emotions dealing with issues from humorous recollection of a lost blackberry to profound themes of HIV/AIDS.
A charismatic individual with a knack for banter, urged by the purpose to influence the world to express their selves through a positive channel of empowerment leaving an imprint on the audience.
kemba king is an artist. healer. storyteller.
she has been writing and sharing her art for over 10 years. in 2009 and 2010 she was a part of the anitafrika dub theatre playwrights-in-residence program where she wrote and co-produced the biomyth monodrama ‘where the stories are told’. during the same year, she participated and culminated from the sacred leaders mentorship program from sacred women centres international. she hosted and co-produced a radio show entitled ‘womyn’s words’ for over 10 years. she also co-directed and co-facilitated the medina collective - an organisation committed to informing and engaging young women of colour in media literacy primarily via hip hop.
kemba is an emerging blogger.
Alana is currently producing the Stolen From Africa RealTV pilot, a two part docu-sries that will follow two young adults, a Canadian from Toronto and an American from Atlanta, as they travel together to each other’s cities for one week each. Aside from highlighting their diverse, cultural exchange as they live, eat, sleep and travel together for two weeks, they will explore local African Heritage sites and festivals in each other’s cities. Alana also co-produced and co-directed a short documentary called The Forgotten City... in the city that explores the lack of youth services in the Keele & Eglinton community in Toronto and the bad things that can happen when there’s limited access to those resources. In 2005, Alana graduated from Humber College in Journalism and continues to remain extremely passionate about telling stories everyone can understand and relate to. Her innate ability to connect and engage diverse perspectives has led to the narration of many impactful interviews (such as her interviews with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, R & B artist Ledisi, Rapper M1 of Dead Prez and many others). Alana also worked as a reporter for National Public Radio’s Next Generation Radio project in Indianapolis and Las Vegas in 2006 & 2007 with the National Association of Black Journalists.
There’s no shame in her game, Kyauna Clarke knows what it takes to make an impact on the industry and the secret is in her music. The timeless, soulful sensation has gained respect among Toronto natives, opening for several artists such as Kim Davis, Ayah, and Zaki Ibrahim and working with accomplished producers like Rich Kidd and Noah “40” Shabib. Kyauna landed a prestigious position with The Remix Project, a youth organization which jump started her career when she graduated from the recording arts sector. Throughout the intensive 6 month program, she developed her skills alongside industry professionals and even received the opportunity to travel to Durban South Africa to perform at the national UN Conference. Since then Kyauna has also performed in Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh and DC. The unsigned songstress is currently working on mixtape projects to ensure that her fans are continuously satisfied. Often seducing listeners with her musical gift, Kyauna demonstrates the qualities of a story teller-A woman who acknowledges who she is, where she’s been and takes us on a journey of her successful endeavours.
Kayla Carter is an actress, a friend, a daughter, a playwright, a sister and a dancer. She is committed to creating authentic and socially aware art that illustrates the lives of everyday people. As a student at the University of Toronto she is constantly trying to find ways to demonstrative that academia and art not only inform one another but also depend on one another. Kayla also believes that art is a healing and meditative process not only for those who are receiving it but also giving it. She would also like to express her gratitude for being part of such an inspiring, energetic and brilliant group of artists.
Jamiena Shah is an aspiring artist who sees the T-Dot Renaissance as a beginning platform and playground to cultivate, nurture and grow her talents in the multi-disciplinary arts. She dabbles in pottery, poetry and social justice theatre. She played 'Women in Green' from the 1975 stage play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" by Ntozake Shange, as part of a social justice theatre troupe during her time in graduate school and is seeking more opportunities to represent south asian women on and off the stage. She continues to enjoy world travel, cross-cultural literature, music with soul, hiking, yoga, bike riding, story-telling, spiritual teachings, healing arts, fusion cooking and playing with spices.
Alix Muyoti Mukonambi (aka. Lena) is a storyteller, lover, and emerging/apprentice blogger/drummer. She is also an independent social justice consultant working within grassroots movements from East Afrika to Turtle Island.
Born in the former U.S.S.R and raised in Kenya by 2 teachers and vijiji of malaikas. Alix Muyoti spent her formative years advocating human rights issues. Including a decade of growing healing villages in Tdot, queer/trans gender policies rights advocacy, and art-for-social-change education, amongst community based organisations like T.E.A.C.H, H.E.Y.Y, Mpenzi Black Women’s International Film & Video Festival. She's also involved with The Children’s Peace Theatre, #To David With Love, and Shango Thunder Drummers. Alix produced her first ‘short’ documentary in 2006, Hadithi Yetu, with the Queer Youth Digital Video Project, at the Inside Out Film & Video Festival. She is currently working on a series : The Q_t werd - that was born from that vision quest.
In 2008, Muyoti returned to East Afrika and as a member of the Moyo Wa Africa collective, volunteered with capacity building for frontline activists like Minority Women in Action (MWA) & Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA) in the first QLGBT community centre in Kenya, brought together by the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK). She also co-created circles for healing and self recovery, queer/trans youth arts collectives & supported other groups like Ngomeni Eco Tourism Community Development Project in fundraising & implementing education programs for youth.
Muyoti is now focused on building solidarity and sharing resources among diverse villages to support not only the QLGBT movement in East Afrika but the struggle for Afrikan liberation, and (re)birthing a healing arts centre in Kenya.
She is passionate about harvesting multiple forms of art like film, photography & drums to reclaim indigenous Afrikan technologies, and deeply grateful to the spirits that brought the Tdot renaissancevillage together for the inspiration and guidance.
Anika is a Toronto based Counsellor, Social Enterpriser and aspiring Screenwriter.
Before returning to school to study Business Management and Screen Writing, she worked as a Set Dresser in Film and Television alongside her veteran Electrician father, and twin brother. In 2005, her documentary short, “In the Dark” won a Directors’ award at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival. She has since teamed with Theatre Revolve, CKLN 88.1, and the National Film Board of Canada to direct three more documentary film and radio projects.
Anika now divides her time between providing advocacy and support to women in conflict with the law and preparing for the Fall 2011 launch of her Black Culture inspired vintage clothing store, Rebel Junction.
Her play time passions consist of supporting local artists and arts-based initiatives; thrift shopping; solo travel; learning to play acoustic guitar; spinning records at home, and writing her first feature length screenplay.
Ania Soul is exacting a personal revolution, one song and one show at a time. To this new 'first lady' of soul, self-love is always the antidote for the world's pain, romance's broken promises, and the bruises inflicted from the rise and fall of life's unpredictable tides. Ania tells the story of the underdog, the artist, the survivor and reminds you with her music what it feels like to be victorious, even when you thought you had lost the right to be. The delivery of each note comes from the centre of her being and goes directly to yours. Heart-full and fearless, Ania Soul is a beguiling vocal artist with a troubadour's commitment to lyric and story.